PCCA Journal 4th Quarter 2020

PCCA Journal|4 th Quarter 2020 11 Continued on page 12 InsideWashington F ollowing a chaotic and intense 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden  had been declared the victor by most media sources when this article was written and was widely expected to become the 46th President of the United States in January. While President Trump’s legal challenges were still in the works and the president continued to refuse to concede, Biden’s transition team was already rolling out plans for the transition of power. Biden’s win was slimmer than many predicted, and Republicans appeared in a strong position to retain control of the Senate, pending runoff elections in Georgia. The GOP also made significant progress in the House, where they enjoyed several unexpected victories. The apparent president-elect has laid out ambitious plans both for broadband deployment and for future energy policy. Among these plans include the following elements of interest to the power and communication construction industry. Broadband Deployment with a Focus on Rural America Access to high-speed broadband is considered increasingly essential in the 21st Century economy, and the ongoing impacts from the coronavirus pandemic only underscore that point. According to Biden’s plan for rural America, rural Americans are more than ten times as likely than urban residents to lack high-speed broadband access. “Just like rural electrification several generations ago, universal broadband is long overdue and critical to broadly shared economic success,” Biden’s plan states. As president, Biden has indicated that he will expand broadband to every American by: • Investing $20 billion in rural broadband infrastructure and ensuring that installing broadband infrastructure provides high-paying jobs with benefits. • Tripling funding for Community Connect  broadband grants to expand broadband access in rural areas. • Directing the federal government to support cities and towns that want to build municipally owned broadband networks by encouraging competition, increasing speeds, and reducing prices. • Making key federally controlled telecommunications resources available, such as towers, poles, and access to rights-of-way. • Reforming the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program, increasing the number of participating broadband providers, reducing fraud and abuse, and Election Results Present Challenges, Opportunities for Power & Communication Industry EbenWyman PCCA Government & Industry Affairs eben@wymanassociates.net (703) 740-6126